54 Questions To Ask When Considering IT Managed Services
You must have heard of the infamous TSB IT Melt down where an IT malware saw several customers lose money from their bank accounts. The main reason for botched IT projects is the failure to critically assess the potential service provider’s suitability to address your IT needs competently.
Besides determining the outsourced firm’s convenience, ensure it is compatible with your employees, particularly if you have an internal IT team.
What Is The Scope Of The Managed IT Services That They Offer?
While most enterprises concentrate on the hardware the IT support company uses, it is equally important to know the software — whether RMM or PSA — that they use to run their operations. Does the support company have pre-planned IT solution models or it engineers solutions on a case to case basis to meet individual IT needs? While the one shoe fits all” approach may be right for the business, it does not resolve IT issues to the optimum.
8 Questions to Ask When Developing the Service
- What is your average network uptime performance?
- Do you have a list of tiered features and capabilities?
- Do you offer on-site hours built into the regular contractual fee?
- What metrics do you use to assess speed, reliability and overall performance?
- Is there enough flexibility to add or remove service offerings based on my business needs?
- Are you able to diagnose and remedy service issues remotely without the client’s IT team intervention?
- Do you offer customized solutions for different businesses regarding growth plans and achievable goals?
- Which software, professional services automation (PSA) or, Remote monitoring management (RMM) runs your managed services operation?
Will you be able to comfortably drop or adopt other IT services as your business needs evolve? This goes hand in hand with the IT service provider’s ability to help your company project future growth patterns and implement scalability and its flexibility to allow you to relinquish services that you no longer need.
Find out their average network uptime performances, and how effectively they have mitigated downtime issues in the past. It may not be wise to rely on the IT support company to give you an honest review of their performance; the best thing to do here is to find out from firms that have partnered with them in the past. A reliable lT support company will also define Key Performance Indicators (KIPs) to help their partners gauge speed and reliability.
Once in a while, you may need professionals from the IT firm to help your staff or your in-house IT team physically. Ascertain upfront whether such on-site support services are part of the contract or will require the company to part with extra bucks.
What Costs Will You Incur And How Is The Contract Structured?
9 Questions to Ask Regarding Your Contract and Fees
- How is my data retrieved should my contract be terminated?
- Can a break clause be initiated should I decide to terminate my contract?
- Is your service level agreement consistent for all customers or is this negotiable?
- Does contract flexibility include monthly and annual payments with capping on yearly rate hikes?
- Can you provide a comparison detailing the cost of on-premises versus cloud solutions over time?
- Will I need to purchase additional infrastructure when your managed services work with my business?
- Does your fee structure cover additional cost management that notifies when new charges get applied?
- Do you include an assessment of IT infrastructure before providing projected Service fees?
- If so, is this a separate cost?
Most firms decide to outsource IT support because it is cost-effective. You should ask the service provider how much their services will cost you and when you are required to make payments.
Before settling on which way to go, compare and contrast the merits and demerits of on-site and remote IT Support, and their respective costs. Go for a plan that fits your business policies and budgets. Sometimes IT support firms have fixed prices for tiered services, or it may be based on bargaining and agreement.
Who foots the bills in case of hikes or task increments? The question on cost extends to whether the service provider charges for assessment of your infrastructure and projection of project fees and how to source additional infrastructure if necessary.
Contracts are usually the most sensitive part of any pact. A standard contract must have an exit clause. How do you reclaim your data in case of premature termination of the agreement, and what’s the legal termination fine?
How Is Your Company’s Data Handled?
At the very top of this list is where your data will be hosted, does the company have a data center or outsourced third party storage facilities. This is in tandem with who gets to access your data, even in cases where you decide to enter into mergers or sell out the business. No enterprise wants its data files to be in the hands of their competitors.
11 Questions to Ask Regarding Your Data Management
- Who will have access to my data?
- What methods do you use to protect data?
- Will my competitors be able to see my data?
- What redundancy gets built into the solution?
- Who owns my data if it gets hosted at your facility?
- How are data backups and disaster recovery handled?
- What happens to my data if you go out of business, are sold to or merge with another firm?
- What measures and processes are in place to protect my data against security breaches or data leaks?
- Ultimately, who is responsible for my data? You as the MSP, a third party, or me as the business owner?
- Do you host multiple clients on the same systems, in a multi-tenant environment or exclusivity in-area?
- Do you run your service operations through 3rd party hosting providers or data centers? If so, can you provide or validate these?
Also find out whether the IT support firm hosts data from different tenants on the same systems or apart, and who has the ownership rights given that they are responsible for the storage.
In the case of data breaches or related mishaps, whose responsibility is it to bear the mitigation burden? A reliable service provider must have backup programs and fallback plans. Your corporation’s CISO must corroborate firsthand that the IT support firm has adequate data protection features.
What Experience Does The Managed IT Service Provider Have?
Meet the team that will handle your IT, get to know about their credentials and professional qualifications.
12 Questions to Ask Regarding the MSP’s Credibility and Capabilities
- How do you train ad-hoc support?
- Do you employ a dedicated staff, or ad-hoc?
- Can I meet the team members providing my support?
- How many years have you been providing IT managed services?
- Would you classify yourselves as experts in IT Managed Services?
- What is your level of expertise in my industry regarding regulatory compliance requirements?
- What industry credentials or certifications, does your company, and your technical staff carry?
- How does your IT service desk team stay current with new technology developments and trends?
- Are your IT managed services primarily what you do or are they an add-on service to your business?
- Will you provide references and phones numbers to customers that are still doing business with you?
- What percentage of your business gets dedicated to managed services versus other business models?
- When I’m required to provide an audit trail showing compliance, how does your company handle that?
For how long has the IT management firm and its employees been in active service? When seeking IT support, especially when switching from one service provider to the other, you must be keen to look for a firm that has a rich history in IT support. An experienced IT management company without up-to-date technologies is no better than an inexperienced one.
Dependability is entirely premised on how well the service providers can communicate their success stories, through present or past partners. Can the firm provide contacts to those customers for cross prefer fencing?
The IT firm that you settle to partner with should be accredited and its workers certified. This is the only sure way to ascertain that you are not dealing with quacks.
How Proactive Is The Service Provider’s Support System?
How practical is the customer Help Desk support? You should be able to easily reach the service provider to seek clarification or in case of emergencies. Your end-users must also be fully supported to enable them to efficiently use the established IT systems.
14 Questions to Ask Regarding the MSP’s Support Model
- How is support provided?
- How are complex issues escalated?
- What are the hours of emergency support?
- What are the satisfaction levels with your customer help desk?
- Will you provide references to call from any existing customers?
- Do you offer on-site support hours as part of the contractual fee?
- What are the first, second and third line parameters for escalation?
- May we discuss your managed service support levels with existing clients?
- Is emergency support available twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week?
- Do you include channels such as telephone, email, portal access, and live chat?
- What percentage of issues are confirmed as resolved at first contact by your helpdesk?
- Do you offer traditional break or fix support for hardware, software and other infrastructure?
- What type of training is provided, by your company, for my in-house IT staff to educate them?
- How do I guarantee the return on my investment covering Support and organizational IT knowledge?
Does the service provider facilitate capacity building for your in-house personnel, and is this covered in the contractual fees? If not, how much more do you have to pay?
Crowning all these should be the culture and core values of the IT support firm. There aren’t specific questions to help you determine the systemic values of the service provider, but we all have some sort of intuitive “culture barometer.” Choose a company with a tradition in helping even under challenging circumstances.
The search for a reliable provider of IT management services may be an exasperating encounter. Radius Executive IT Solutions is the best outsourced managed IT services provider in New England and Boston.
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